Okay, now that I have your attention….
I’m on a book-related deadline until Thursday afternoon, so posts will not be novella length in these next few days, but with any luck I’ll still catch the relevant items to bounce your way.
Like this one: The San Bernardino Sun reports that last week 200 inmates at the California State Prison at Chino (California Institution for Men) participated in survey about sexual assaults in America’s jails and prisons. Approximately, 80,000 inmates serving time at 148 prisons and 300 jails nationwide are expected to be surveyed when all is said and done.
It seems that the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 requires that a survey be conducted in 10 percent of the nation’s prisons each year. And the Bureau of Justice is the group tasked to do it.
The most recent of these surveys available online is from 2005. And some of its findings are….curious. I’ll let you do your own cruising around the report, if you’ve a mind to do it. But here are the things that, to my way of thinking, stood out:
1. Sex crimes behind bars appear to be going up--like a lot. Of those surveyed in 2005, 6,241 allegations of sexual violence were reported, up from 5,386 in 2004.
2. Of those allegations, 38 percent involved staff sexual misconduct against prisoners (!!!!) Add to that, 35 percent for non-consensual inmate-on-inmate sexual acts, another 17 percent tallied as incidents of staff (sexual) harassment, and 10 percent listed as inmate-on-inmate harassment.
Alright, now these are allegations, not proven incidents, but hang in there with me.
3. The highest number of inmate-on-inmate incidents of sexual violence reported was surprisingly NOT coming from California (although we have far-and-away the most people locked up), but from Florida with 124 reported—against California’s 59, though we have over twice the number of inmates as does the state of Florida.
But the gold medal winner for inmate-on-inmate incidents of sexual violence allegations, is the great state of Texas with an astounding….511.
However, when you start looking at percentages, rather than sheer numbers, states like Oklahoma and Washington are surprisingly high. But FLA and TX still win this appalling race.
4. But now here’s where it really starts to get strange. When it comes to staff on inmate allegations, Florida and Georgia are the prime culprits—with Georgia having by far the worst percentage. HOWEVER, while, say, Indiana had 53 accusations, with 15 substantiated (plus 9 unsubstantiated, meaning they couldn’t prove or disprove ‘em, and 10 proven unfounded.)….whereas Georgia had a whopping 226 accusations, with zero substantiated. (Most are either unsubstantiated or still being investigated.)
So are the Indiana folks better investigators or are the Georgia folks better liars? And, if the latter is the case, is it the staff or the prisoners who are doing the lying?
Alright, that’s enough. I leave it to you to draw further conclusions. In any case, I applaud the Bureau of Justice for taking on the problem. As has been long documented, sexual violence is a scourge of America’s prisons. And it’s scary to think that, if the accusations are any measure at all, that some of the worst of the predators are the people wearing uniforms.